Do you have the happiness advantage?

In a recent TEDx talk, Shawn Achor presented the strong connection between happiness and performance. Often we set goals for ourselves with the idea that achieving those goals will result in happiness. Of course, the problem with that system is that happiness remains a constantly moving target; once we get that promotion, we’re looking for the next step up the ladder.

Achor believes, and studies have shown, that it’s not necessarily the reality of a situation that shapes us, but rather the way we view the world internally. Changing our perception allows each of us to find far greater satisfaction in our current circumstances and results in improved long-term outcomes. The external world only accounts for 10% of your happiness; the other 90% lies in your mind and the way that you process the world.

The Happiness Advantage is your brain performing significantly better when you’re positive than it does when you’re negative, stressed or even just neutral. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises and your energy rises.

You can gain this happiness advantage by re-wiring your brain in just 21 short days by adhering to these 5 practices on a daily basis:

  • 3 Gratitudes; writing down three new things that you’re grateful for each day
  • Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had within the past 24 hours
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random Acts of Kindness

These seem like small tasks, but when practiced regularly, your mind begins to look at the world and see the positive rather than the negative.

At Chicago Cares, we know that simply seeing the world through a more positive lens doesn’t take away the very real problems that face our city. Issues of homelessness, hunger, education, isolation and declining environment can’t just be smiled away.

However, seeing the beauty in the communities we serve, the potential in the faces of the children we teach and the wisdom in the lessons we gain from seniors at our sites, provides the energy, creativity and intelligence we need to begin to tackle these difficult realities.

This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, a time when we celebrate the amazing power a simple act of kindness can have. It’s also a great time to take inventory and think about how you’re currently viewing the world and whether or not you’re ready to gain the happiness advantage for yourself.

Research shows, you won’t be disappointed!